12 January 2004

Maher Arar

Of course I thank all of the journalists for covering my story.

The past year has been a nightmare, and I have spent the past few weeks at home trying to learn how to live with what happened to me. I know that the only way I will ever be able to move on in my life and have a future is if I can find out why this happened to me.

I want to know why this happened to me. I believe the only way I can ever know why this happened is to have all the truth come out in a public inquiry.

My priority right now is to clear my name, get to the bottom of the case and make sure this does not happen to any other Canadian citizens in the future. I believe the best way to go about achieving this goal is to put pressure on the government to call for a public inquiry.

What is at stake here is the future of our country, the interests of Canadian citizens, and most importantly Canada's international reputation for being a leader in human rights where citizens from different ethnic groups are treated no different than other Canadians.

Thank you for your patience.

Maher Arar was detained by the US, deported to Syria under protest despite being a Canadian citizen, and there tortured for months before being returned to Canada. This practice is common enough to have generated its own CIA jargon - extraordinary rendition.

Candada's new prime minister has promised to pursue the issue with George Bush:

Mr. Martin has also promised to take up the issue of "respect for the Canadian passport," a reference to the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen deported from New York to Syria and tortured there.

A couple of things have worried me about this incident, apart form the obvious and disgusting violation of human rights. Arar describes being delivered to the Syrian Mukhabarat and tortured for information related to the War on Terror. What is the relationship between the US and Syrian intelligence? Why was Syria ready to torture someone for information required by the US?

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